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Warriors book Gold Cup place with 4-2 win over French Guiana

The Trinidad and Tobago national senior men’s football team booked its place in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup after just two Caribbean Cup group matches in Jamaica. But it was anything but an easy ride.

The “Soca Warriors” struggled to hold on to a three-goal lead this evening against French Guiana and, in the end, were grateful for a stoppage time Ataulla Guerra free kick, which added gloss to their eventual 4-2 triumph over a 10-man Guiana team.

Their nervy triumph, added to a 3-2 win over Curaçao on Tuesday, would concern fans who remember when Trinidad and Tobago might easily approach double figures against such minnows.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato (right) takes on the Curacao defence in the Caribbean Cup while teammate Kevin Molino looks on. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato (right) takes on the Curacao defence in the Caribbean Cup while teammate Kevin Molino looks on.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

But there is a new wind blowing in the Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago had only two local-based players in its starting team today. But so did French Guiana.

Seven members of the Guiana team play in the lower tiers of France’s football leagues while team captain Marvin Torvic plays in Germany’s fourth division with 1860 Rosenheim and attacker Roy Contout plays in the Belgium top flight with Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz.

The entire French starting team was also under the age of 30 and several were in their early twenties.

The new Caribbean Cup schedule makes it easier for Europe-based players to participate and some of the less heralded nations have taken full advantage.

Curaçao used five Netherlands-based professionals against the Warriors on Monday. Yesterday, Martinique, with 15 Europe-based players including top flight players from France, Scotland, Greece and Bulgaria, drew 1-1 with Jamaica.

Martinique’s goal scorer, Yoann Arquin, plays in the Scottish Premier League with Ross County.

If the traditional superpowers falter and if islands like Curaçao and Antigua and Barbuda can raise the funds to prepare their teams, Caribbean football could face revolution.

Photo: Antigua and Barbuda midfielder Joshua Parker (centre) celebrates with teammates Quinton Griffith (left) and Nathaniel Jarvis during the Caribbean Cup qualifiers. Parker, Griffith and Jarvis play professionally in the United States, Slovakia and England respectively. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Antigua and Barbuda midfielder Joshua Parker (centre) celebrates with teammates Quinton Griffith (left) and Nathaniel Jarvis during the Caribbean Cup qualifiers.
Parker, Griffith and Jarvis play professionally in the United States, Slovakia and England respectively.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

For now, the Warriors stayed ahead of the curve with their second successive triumph which leaves the two island republic as the only nation with a 100 percent record at the Caribbean Cup finals.

It looked fairly comfortable at one point. Kevin Molino, who played upfront in place of captain Kenwyne Jones, put the Warriors ahead with an accurate drive off the far post in the 17th minute before doubling Trinidad and Tobago’s advantage with a flicked header into the corner off a Guerra cross in the 58th minute.

The latter item was Molino’s seventh goal in his last four games.

The Orlando City attacker might have had a hattrick too as he was felled in the box in the 60th minute for a penalty kick but he passed the opportunity to his friend and teammate Lester Peltier who made it 3-0 from the spot.

Torvic was ejected for his trip on Molino too as the Warriors enjoyed a three-goal lead against ten players.

So far so good for Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart who had made six changes to his starting team in an effort to stay onside FIFA’s medical rule regarding the number of games permitted for players within an international window.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago hattrick hero Kevin Molino (centre) flicks the ball around Dominican Republic midfielder Heinz Barmettler (left) during the Caribbean Cup qualifiers while coach Stephen Hart looks on. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago hattrick hero Kevin Molino (centre) flicks the ball around Dominican Republic midfielder Heinz Barmettler (left) during the Caribbean Cup qualifiers while coach Stephen Hart looks on.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

But Brian Saint-Clair, one of two home-based players in the French Guiana squad, pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute after the Warriors midfield allowed him a free shot from just inside the 18-yard box.

And a fabulous curling free kick in the 84th minute from left back Jean David Legrand, a fifth tier French league player with Trelissac, reduced the scores to 3-2 in the dying stages after Peltier missed two golden opportunities for the Warriors on the break.

It could have been worse as France-based substitute Niki Adipi hit the bar with a looping header while French Guiana also rapped Phillip’s right post.

But Guerra, one of three Central FC players in the present T&T squad, gave the Warriors an insurance item with a blistering free kick that flew into the top right hand corner.

The saying that “there are no easy international games” is one of sport’s oldest clichés. But, for once, it might be true of the Caribbean Cup.


Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 2.Justin Hoyte, 6.Daneil Cyrus, 12.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 26.Aubrey David, 14.Andre Boucaud (15.Jamal Gay 65), 8.Khaleem Hyland (captain) (5.Kevan George 53); 23.Lester Peltier (13.Cordell Cato 84), 11.Ataulla Guerra, 7.Hughtun Hector, 10.Kevin Molino

Unused substitutes: 21.Jan Michael Williams (GK), 3.Joevin Jones, 18.Yohance Marshall, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 17.Leston Paul; 9.Kenwyne Jones, 27.Jonathan Glenn, 16.Shahdon Winchester, 24.Adrian Foncette.

Coach: Stephen Hart


2014 Caribbean Cup

Group A

(Thu Nov 13)

Trinidad and Tobago 4 (Kevin Molino 17, 58, Lester Peltier 60 pen, Ataulla Guerra 90+4), French Guiana 2 (Brian Saint-Clair 64, Jean David Legrand 83) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex

Cuba 3 (Jorge Luis Corrales 15, Yasmany Lopez 51, Orisbel Leiza 90+5), Curaçao 2 (Prince Rajcomar 45, Gevaro Nepomuceno 69) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex

(Tue Nov 11)

Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Kenwyne Jones 25 pen, 38, Kevin Molino 50), Curaçao 2 (Rihario Meulens 18, Gianluca Maria 48) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex

French Guiana 1 (Mickael Solvi 90), Cuba 1 (Ariel Martinez 57) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex

Group B

(Wed Nov 12)

Haiti 2 (Jean Sony Alcenat 23, Kervens Belfort 36), Antigua and Barbuda 2 (Myles Weston 58, Peter Byers 60) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex

Jamaica 1 (Darren Mattocks 13), Martinique 1 (Yoann Arquin 29) at the Montego Bay Sport Complex


Upcoming fixtures

Group B

(14 November)

Martinique v Haiti, 6.30 pm (TT time), Montego Bay Sport Complex, Jamaica,

Jamaica v Antigua and Barbuda, 9 pm (TT time), Montego Bay Sport Complex, Jamaica;

Group A

(15 November)

French Guiana v Curaçao, 6.30 pm (TT time), Montego Bay Sport Complex, Jamaica;

Cuba v Trinidad and Tobago, 9 pm (TT time), Montego Bay Sport Complex, Jamaica.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. The surface looks terrible, So it is impossible to have the ball zipping around like if Xavi and so on were playing.

  2. We have gone backwards. When Hart took over the improvement in style and tactics was obvious but something has gone wrong. Last night T&T were outplayed in the last fifteen minutes by a team with 10 men and 3-0 down. Ridiculous.
    More important, the circulation of the ball was poor and the speed in transition was woeful. And what’s gone wrong with Bakr? He looks cumbersome now; he’s playing like a man who put on 30kgs overnight.

  3. Why not send them? They can get scholarships etc. seen by coaches at some league. Is it just me or the pace looks real slow in these highlights

  4. Molino looks a class above the rest in highlights. Is this the case Lasana Liburd and Kirwin Weston. Lasana what’s his scoring record at the international level man

  5. It is a good question Nicholas Lochan. I can see the benefit to those countries. And a team like Martinique definitely helps boost the competitiveness of the tournament too.
    If those countries start winning the damn thing regularly, maybe we might hear grumbling.

  6. YEa Nicholas, i wondered because the Martinique Women team went to America and couldnt qualify what sense that made?

  7. Lasana… if those countries don’t have international status, how are they able to play in CFU tournaments? Isn’t it depriving the legitimate countries?

  8. Molino 21 international starts with 7 sub appearances and 12 goals. Not all of those are recognised by FIFA though. Countries like French Guiana and Martinique do not have full international status.

  9. Really all I know d fella wit d fro who spoke no English started d nonesense.

  10. Molino is a nice find and an unselfish player. He could have taken the penalty himself for a hat trick instead elected to pass on to Peltier. My kind of player.

  11. I wonder what is Molino scoring record at the international level. That man scores every game

  12. Congratulations to Team Soca Worriors

  13. Well I didn’t realize Cuba had all home grown players.

  14. At least we’re in the Gold Cup, let’s qualify for Copa America now !

  15. There’s no provisions for minutes played…just straight 2 games.

  16. Oh, and by the way, Guerra’s goal was a cause of double celebration…..today is his birthday!! Way to go, Tulla!!

  17. Lasana, your point about Caribbean clubs becoming stronger because of the new Caribbean Cup schedule is only one reason for the change in performances. There is a disparity that favours nations such as Curacao and French Guiana. Those nations typically have dual citizenship with European countries, so their players can easily play in Europe. T&T and Jamaica cannot do this. Look how the Dutch utilised their link with Suriname: Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Aaron Winter all played in Holland’s Euro’88 winning team. Then, in the 90’s came Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert. In the 21st Century, Dutch stars such as Ryan Babel, Nigel de Jong, Orlando Engelaar and Royston Drenthe….all from Suriname. Suriname can provide the DNA, but the players need to go to Netherlands to develop. There are over 100 players of Suriname descent playing league football in Holland. We may recall that the majority of T&T’s 2006 squad were based overseas, mainly in the U.K. T&T too, has the valuable DNA required, but our boys cannot gain access to the crucial European Union because of work permit restrictions. Also, no player under 18 can be transferred outside of T&T (except under extreme conditions). Yet, those Caribbean countries with dual citizenship can send boys at 16 to Europe to develop. Rules within FIFA need to be changed, because the playing field is no longer level. One one hand players can say: Hey, I’m from French Guiana, yet on the other they can say: I can go to Europe at age 16 because I’m French. Of course, T&T benefited from dual nationality with players like Chris Birchall, Ian Cox and J.Lloyd Samuel. In my opinion, there are at least 10 current Pro League players who could easily play in the U.K. or top European leagues, but we are being starved of the opportunities to develop our young players and offer greater experience to our senior team members. The only bright light on the horizon is that if T&T can remain in FIFA’s top 70 for two years, our regular senior team players can possibly obtain E.U. work permits. So, Stephen Hart’s success is not only important for national pride, but to allow our players to get into Europe, and thus provide an even stronger pool of national players.

    • Lasana Liburd

      That is true Kevin. But it was never attractive for those players to return and player for countries like Suriname and Martinique before. All those conditions you mentioned always existed.
      But their ability to return home and play due to the harmonised calendar has made a big change. And it can make a big impact on this tournament and maybe Caribbean football.

  18. Congratulations Warriors…now let’s do it against Cuba!

  19. Cuba has a full squad playing at home. So which Cuban club team will complain to FIFA?
    You only get in trouble if a club files a complaint to FIFA. The pro league teams probably won’t. It is the Europe based players we have to be most careful with.
    Apart from the technical staff being generally mindful of the welfare of its entire squad.

  20. Lasana Liburd I read that piece but Cuba must rotate too. I can’t see why they are not in the same situation

  21. But you know us Trinis. We always have to do everything the hard way. Now is pressah for both Men’s and Women’s games but i’m confident we’re equal to the task.

  22. If Cuba would have drawn that game we would have qualified for the finals already and be even better for us

  23. If he’s anything like his Father this Hart will know how to gamble. He know’s his stuff. Have confidence he’ll figure it out. I do.

  24. Trinidad and Tobago has to rotate Prince Borde. I wrote an earlier piece explaining how we can be punished by FIFA if we use players in more than two games per international window once a club complains.
    If we want a full strength team for the final, we must gamble a bit against Cuba.

  25. One could tell that Hart wasn’t pleased with that 2nd half performance despite the final outcome. But that free kick was a beaut from Guerra. They’ll have to up their game against Cuba as i have to agree with Lasana there are no minnows in this game anymore. At least they crossed the first hurdle which was to qualify for the Gold Cup. Congratulations on that accomplishment now it’s to bring home the Trophy. You are warriors. Go for it.

  26. And we must rotate again. Poor Hart has to play Russian roulette with team selection.

  27. I’m sure that’s the last thing Hart wanted

  28. Except for Shabazz eh? He did it and still lost his job. :-/

  29. They scored late. Wow. If they tied we were in

  30. It should have, but the ref was little kind with the extra minutes.

  31. Once u get me 2 d GC u is my coach.